Mastering Motherhood ~Transforming Ourselves and The World

One Mindful-Mama-Moment at a Time

These 8 attributes of a conscious parent will help your kids realize their HIGHEST and BEST

(Betty Draper,  please read)

“God has no grandchildren!”

This feels like a good place to start this little piece about being a conscious parent: “God has no grandchildren!” This axiom  reminds me of the words of Kahlil Gibran that our children are sent from the Archer, they are ‘Life's longing for Itself...they come through us but not from us’.

Goddess Diana, Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edenpictures/5383816856/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Even though we refer to them as 'Our Children' (not to worry, I won't ever stop calling my children, 'my children'!), we recognize that the beings who have come through us are ultimately not our own. We cherish them, have ultimate love, reverence, and respect for them and have ultimate trust in the One to whom they really belong. We have been, we might say, divinely appointed to a Caretaker position in their lives, providing safeguard, support, guidance, supervision, nurture, and love. We are their ‘tour guides’ as they become accustomed to this planet and learn the ropes to use in the self-evolution of their souls.  

My kids are pretty cool, even if I do say so myself, but if anyone congratulates me on how I have raised my children or commends me for the delightful individuals they are, an inner certainty has compelled me to reply, “Actually, they came with all their splendor. I was just fortunate enough to recognize that my part was to adore them, help them discover and then support their 'beingness', and then endeavor as much as possible to get out of the way of their expression of magnificence.” I just don't feel like I can take credit for how awesome they are!  Well...maybe, a little!

Madre de Ges

What if every expectant mother received a visitation from Archangel Gabriel and was informed that she would give birth to a child ‘of the Most High’ and ‘the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God’ as Mary, mother of Jesus, was?  How might each child then be raised? And with that kind of an upbringing, how might that child experience childhood, and how might this child ‘turn out’? What if we could see that we have all been entrusted with a sacred task? Hmmmm….

For thousands of years, Tibetans have reorganized their lives in preparation for the arrival of the newborn.  They ready a welcoming reception for the baby, understanding the new arrival is bringing a gift.  They anticipate the coming of one who may be a teacher and revere the soul and spirit that is to grace their family and community.

What does it mean to 'parent'?

Parenting, Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mamchenkov/448445182/sizes/m/in/photostream/

According to an etymology study of the word parenting, this noun/verb was first coined in 1959 and is often used as an adjective, e.g., parenting skills.  The word parent has Latin, Old French, and Proto-Indo-European origins (can you tell I am a home-schooling mom?) and means to bring forth, give birth to, produce.  Parenting refers to child-rearing: the experiences, skills, qualities, and responsibilities involved in being a parent and in teaching and caring for a child.

For the most part, the birth and reproduction aspects of parenting seem to be pretty much out of our hands, elegantly orchestrated by an unseen intelligence.  (However, we’ll talk elsewhere about how, in fact, conscious parenting begins even before conception and continues through the birth process, etc.)  But this illustrates the point I referred to earlier, that we can perhaps make our biggest contribution sometimes by getting out of the way and trusting this orchestrating intelligence even after the birth of our child.  It seems to do a pretty good job.

Again, referring to Khalil Gibran's poem, we 'are the bow from which our children as living arrows are sent forth'.

Heliotropism, Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanaka_juuyoh/3429772635/sizes/m/in/photostream/

But, how about the ‘bringing forth’ component of parenting?   I liken our role in the ‘bringing forth’ to the way some plants orient to the sun, turning or growing towards the light (heliotropism).  We can provide a heliotropic environment of love, support, guidance, and grace and we can do so consciously.  Which leads us to the exploration of being a conscious parent.  Following are some thoughts on what the characteristics of a conscious parent could include.

Characteristics of a 'conscious' parent...


Aware of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings

Universe, Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ttdesign/343167590/sizes/m/in/photostream/
  • The conscious parent is one who has been doing the work of learning about one's place in their passage through time and space.
  • The conscious parent is aware of and actively engaged in the work required to liberate from the ore the brilliant diamond which is concealed within, the essence of who she really is.
  • She is in touch with her inner knowing which can be sensed with her body, paying attention to her intuition. 
  • When he feels himself tensing up, he remembers to breathe!  Breathing slowly and deeply tells the nerve tissue in the carotid arteries to send the message: dilate the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.  It also encourages the release of endorphins for relaxation!  This assists him in keeping his connection to higher wisdom.
  • The conscious parent understands the power of thought and stays vigilant, choosing to entertain another thought if the one that is predominant is not what one wants to see show up in the outer world. This includes thoughts of guilt, resentment, unforgiveness, powerlessness, disappointment.  
Passage through time and Space, Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/angelastack/2879375255/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • She practices ‘conscious speech’ in keeping with her predominant thoughts. She affirms and holds her thoughts steadfastly on the good.
  • She holds onto the affirmation that ‘Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time.’ A COURSE IN MIRACLES And accordingly, the child of the conscious parent is perceived as being in the right place at the right time.  That particular child’s showing up is not at random.

Fully aware of or sensitive to something

Daddy and Baby Hands, Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebuckdaddy/4233374822/sizes/m/in/photostream/
  • The conscious parent is sensitive to the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs of his child.  See attachment parenting.  
  • She provides a safe, harmonious environment, sustenance, comfort, stimulation, nurturing.  
  • Her ‘sixth sense’ enables her to anticipate and manage situations.  
  • There is mutual sensitivity between him and his child.  
  • The conscious parent respects the needs and rights of a child to be an individual, not just an extension of herself to control.  
  • All of these aspects create the setting for positive behavior re-direction.  (I have a hard time with the word ‘discipline’! I just recently read a piece from a website advocating spanking to keep a 6-month-old within the boundaries of a blanket on the floor. It made my blood curdle, and I don’t even wish to discuss it, but otherwise reasonable people are considering this as an option and I say NO! please don’t even.)
  • The conscious parent supports the child’s developing independence within a physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually safe environment with lots of love and connection. 

Having the mental faculties fully active

  • The conscious parent practices mindfulness, including mindful speech.  
  • She remembers her intention to stay present.  

When the mind is nowhere, it is everywhere. When it occupies one tenth, it is absent in the other nine tenths.

--Takuan

Hug, attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bonnie-brown/4410822537/sizes/m/in/photostream/

I don’t remember where I came across the words of Melody Beattie, but it has stayed with me, tenaciously…it was probably in her book ‘Codependent No More’ or another one of her books relating to codependency, because as I recall she was addressing the issue of boundaries with respect to our teenagers (more on that topic later!).  What struck me, however, was her suggestion that when your teenager comes to you for a hug, let them be the first to release the hug.  I have used that little bit of advice thusly:

A simple practice of staying present—hugging your child. 

Countless times, I have been inclined to listen to mind chatter reminding me of all that I need to do and feel the urge to pull away.  But I tell my mind to ‘hush’ and settle into the hug until my kids signal they are hugged up good.

Deliberate, intentional, conscious choosing to stay present and celebrating the expression of my child.  And how sweet it is to hear often, ‘Mom, I need a hug!’ (Just now, while I was taking a little break from writing, my 14-year-old daughter asked for a hug and rhapsodized, "there's nothing that makes me feel better than a hug from you, Mom!")

  • The conscious parent is an attentive listener, staying very present. Coming soon…’How to listen so your kids will talk’.

Known to oneself

Unconditional Love
  • The conscious parent looks at herself unflinchingly noticing when and where she is projecting her own insecurities, fears, and conditional love onto her child.
  • She is conscious of her own areas needing growth.  

Rob Bell, author of ‘Love Wins’ says something wonderful in his book: ‘My wife, Kristen, and I often talk about raising our kids in such a way that they have as little as possible to unlearn later on in life.’  I almost want to leave it at that and not add anything (!), but, I’ll just say that this means we have to have done and are continuing our work of self-love, forgiveness, and reining in our controlling, manipulative fearful ego.  

Aware of what one is doing

  • The conscious parent is aware she is holding the place of the observer and maintaining objective awareness.  In spiritual traditions we are taught to connect with the observer, the witness of our experiences, our thoughts.  A powerful practice that can be followed moment by moment is to watch and ask 'Who am I?' 'What am I?'  This simple question can immediately disengage the gears that have our thoughts running endlessly on the same track, following a story which takes us out of the present moment.

There have been times when I have found that practicing this in situations with my children has been dramatically effective in defusing the energy of what could potentially be explosive.

Times when I have been on my last nerve, overwhelmed and overstimulated, the house has looked like a bomb went off, the kids have been persnickety…

Objective Awareness, Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookylida/5591205539/sizes/m/in/photostream/

I have mentally taken a step back and watched the scenario as if pretending that I am watching a movie.  I look at my children as characters in this movie.  I can remark to myself, oh, how cute they are...the messy house is just the set of this movie, the infighting is just the script...then, wow, this looks a lot like my home and family--I hope the mom in this movie sees how adorable and scrumptious these little ones are!

I can then participate in the fray with a dramatic shift in perception and energy.  I have settled into non-attachment.  I don't take things personally.  I don’t get all entangled in the jumbled energy.  I have no need to control the course of events.  Nothing is a reflection on me.  It's just a movie I'm watching!

Aware of oneself

  • The conscious parent is aware of One SELF and not self-conscious (or, at least, working on this! especially when her child exhibits behavior that makes her want to cringe!).  
  • And as mentioned earlier, she knows she can trust the orchestrating intelligence that oversees all and consciously choose to turn over the reins, accepting highest guidance for the good of the One SELF.
  • After reading Lynn Serafinn's book, 'Tweep-e-licious', I am reminded that the conscious parent is aware of her connections with Self, people, and planet.  As Lynn Serafinn's describes the Deadly Sin of Disconnection,  her view is that disconnection is at the root of all so-called 'evils' in the world.

Deliberate; intentional

  • The conscious parent holds to her commitment to motherhood as sadhana.  Going through my notes from something I read somewhere, I found this: ‘there are three important aspects of sadhana: choice, commitment and aspiration.’  With the conscious awareness of our aspiration to spiritually evolve, we bring power to our choice and commitment in parenting our children as part of our spiritual practice. 

For example, there are many distractions which may pull us away from our intention to hold onto our chosen path of seeing motherhood as sacred.  Social life, spiritual community obligations, earning an income…but, the conscious mom catches herself, sometimes later rather than sooner, and says, whoa, what is important here?  Why do I feel that for me to have value, I must be over-involved, I must have uber-recognition from others…?  

Sadhana, Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nstawski/5433993053/sizes/m/in/photostream/

These pursuits are not bad in and of themselves and are even vital for our soul and self-expression, but we can bring ourselves back to an awareness of the holy ground we embody as mother (parent).  In so doing, we choose as part of our sadhana, spiritual practice, doing what it takes to evolve ourselves in the blessedness and messiness of motherhood (parenthood).  

Read here about a test of my willingness to stay true to my intentions and be an advocate of my daughter.

 Acutely aware of or concerned about

Well-being of all children
  • The conscious parent is aware of how she influences her child.
  • The conscious parent is aware of the power of words and carefully and exercises conscious speech.  
  • the conscious parent is also aware of the larger picture--of how she influences the world in the raising of her children.  
  • The conscious parent is also concerned about the well-being of all children.  
  • He is aware that the more conscious a parent becomes in child-rearing how all are benefited...both as a result of the influence of the adults these children turn out to be and as a result of this contributing to the consciousness elevation of the whole of humankind impacting how all children are perceived, treated with reverence, and loved. 

To be continued...Conscious Parenting starts with and even before pregnancy. 

Finally, here are the words of Bruce Lipton, author of 'The Biology of Belief': "...remember that for human beings, the most potent growth promoter is not the fanciest school, the biggest toy or the highest paying job...Conscious parents and seers like Rumi knew that for human babies and adults the best growth promoter is love..."

'A lifetime without Love is of no account

Love is the Water of Life

Drink it down with heart and soul.'

~Rumi

Let me know your thoughts on being a conscious parent.  I'd love to hear and share what you have to say.


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Site updated 11-04-17